Former University of Oklahoma football coach Barry Switzer complained that his homeschooled grandchildren are prohibited from participating in public school sports programs.
Lynn Martin, a reporter and photographer with the Alva Review-Courier, testified he was not allowed to photograph basketball players accepting their trophies at an award ceremony because this privilege had been given to a photo studio that had paid for the right.
Coaches said athletic eligibility rules were selectively enforced.
These were among the grievances leveled Tuesday by people attending a hearing on the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association.
The nonprofit organization oversees most Oklahoma public school athletics, establishing districts and determining player eligibility. It gets most of its $5 million annual budget from gate revenues generated at school playoff games.
Ed Sheakley, the association's executive director, did not testify Tuesday, but at a break in the meeting said his organization is focused on the children in Oklahoma who participate in extracurricular activities.
“My passion is for kids, and so is my staff, and so is my organization,” Sheakley said.
Switzer said during a break in the hearing that the organization lacks oversight.
“The parents, the athletes, the coaches, they should have a loud voice in this organization,” he said. “A voice that's carried and listened to. There's a total lack of communication.”
Echoing Switzer's concerns were several coaches who testified Tuesday at a hearing of an Oklahoma House committee.
“The relationship between the coaches and the OSSAA is at an all-time low, at least in the 40 years I've been around,” said Jim Dixon, football coach at Sulphur High School. “There's very little teamwork at all between the two of us.”
Dixon and other coaches at the study testified that the association selectively enforces rules, alleging that some teams and individuals receive special treatment due to their standing with the organization.
Coaches also called into question how those revenues were distributed. Some coaches said schools that do well in the playoffs actually lose money in travel costs.
“My question is, is the OSSAA about money or is it about the kids?” Dixon asked.